Once scoffed as that “damned fool smoker”, I regard myself as a born-again PhD boy. I started with this rag tag group back in about 1996, emphasizing that I had no bad habits anymore, only to find out I also had no good habits either. Thus, after my first hike or two, I took up some running and found it to help with the subsequent hikes and other adventures with the PhD’s. I must comment that I am the youngest of the group, but certainly not in as good shape as some of my fellow compatriots. These guys amaze (and amuse) me. I’ve got 3 kids, mostly grown and a lovely wife of a lot of nearly 30 years. The kids and the wife make for great stories during the hiking and planning sessions.
On to the best part of my background – I am the Complaints Manager for a large medical device manufacturer. What a way to make a living! It usually keeps me fully stressed out so I am probably- no likely- no positively - known as the crankiest member of the group. That shouldn’t be the case for the youngest PhD, but it appears to be my fate. It makes for great stories during our long and sometimes-tedious adventures – God forbid we should be bored in the –20 degree cold in Vermont in a Yurt!
I am known as the group’s best follower and the worst planner– since I don’t have an innate sense of adventure or organization, I follow along with just about everything the group decides to do. This works for me. I am able to do just about anything because I am the youngest – did I mention that I am the youngest? That also means I have been frequently chosen to carry the heavy burden of “Wine Sherpa” – the hearty one chosen to carry several bottles of wine in the backpack for the entire group on an overnight adventure up a mountainside. I am also counted on for dinner preparations frequently, which I do actually enjoy immensely – I really only wanted to be a good cook when I grew up – who the hell wants to manage complaints!.
Well, I can close by saying that I truly enjoy my membership in this fine group and without it, would probably not ever have traversed any of the peaks in the White Mountains, never mind attended so many fairly unproductive planning meetings with a bunch of over 50 year olds.